Honors study in psychology is aimed at providing enriched experiences in psychological science. This means that the program emphasizes strong immersion in the empirical methods of the scientific study of psychological topics. Students interested in honors study in psychology are expected to work closely with faculty in independent study as well as laboratory-based and/or field-based empirical research. Such experiences culminate in an honors thesis, which is expected to incorporate empirical methods of psychological science. To prepare students for their thesis work, students must enroll in Psychology 300H (Honors Research Methods) in the fall semester of their Junior year. Students electing to obtain honors in psychology are encouraged to begin independent study and research with faculty as early as possible, and no later than the beginning of the junior year. At the end of the junior year, honors students must file a thesis proposal. At this time, students must have an agreed upon thesis topic and an identified honors thesis advisor (a full-time psychology faculty member who is on a continuing appointment). In general, initial participation in the program is geared toward basic training in the methods of psychological science and exposure to diverse topical areas in order to prepare students to identify a topic of interest and engage in honors thesis research.
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To be eligible for honors study in psychology, students must meet the following requirements:
- Good standing in the Schreyer Honors College
- Major or minor in psychology
- Students in The Liberal Arts Paterno Undergraduate Fellows Program must meet the requirements described here.
- Students wishing to enter the program in the junior year should apply late in their sophomore year (April-May) via the Schreyer Honors College online Gateway application (www.shc.psu.edu). The Psychology Department requires Gateway applicants to have the recommendation of a full-time psychology faculty member.
- Admissions to Psychology honors during the COVID-19 Pandemic and Alternative Grading.
Additional Program Requirements
To achieve honors in Psychology, students must meet the following requirements:
- Completion of PSYCH 300H (substitutes for PSYCH 301W). Note that students entering the Psychology Honors Program via the Liberal Arts Paterno Undergraduate Fellows Program will instead complete PSYCH 301W with a grade of A.
- Completion of an empirical honors thesis (i.e. data analysis is required). The paper must contain a literature review, some type of data analysis, and a discussion of how the project contributes to science and/or practice. The paper must be completed and turned into the primary advisor by the Friday the week following spring Break. This deadline exists so that there will be enough time for revisions to be done and for the department to approve the project. The department will approve the final paper only if the student has submitted the paper by this deadline, except in the case of extenuating circumstances.
- Poster Requirement
Psychology Honors students must present a poster about their research at the Psychology Department’s Psi Chi Undergraduate Research Exhibition and/or at the university-wide Undergraduate Research Exhibition and/or at some other suitable venue. The best venue for you should be worked out with your thesis adviser
Honors Study in Psychology: Right for You?
Honors study in psychology is not simply a reward. It is an opportunity. The opportunity is both exciting and challenging. Honors study in psychology is especially recommended for students who are interested in research and have plans to pursue graduate training in psychology or related fields.
Honors in Other Fields
Schreyer Scholars majoring in psychology may obtain honors in other departments. This can be accomplished by completing major requirements in psychology and conducting honors work with a faculty in another department. Under these circumstances, the student is responsible for meeting major requirements for their degree in psychology and all honors requirements of the department in which they are conducting honors work.
Schreyer Scholars majoring in psychology may pursue an interdisciplinary honors degree by integrating honors work in psychology and honors work in another department. Under these circumstances, students are responsible for meeting major requirements for their degree in psychology, meeting psychology department honors requirements, and meeting all honors requirements of the second department involved in the interdisciplinary honors program.